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Where’s the Safety? It’s Overseas

/ Car Accident /

NEW YORK – If you own – or just drive a car – safety is probably very important to you. But are you willing to pay for it? Several American automakers are toying with marketing plans to see how much your safety is worth to you; and some argue it’s putting lives at risk.

A horde of car manufacturers recently told lawmakers they plan to implement critical safety features, like autonomous emergency braking, on all new models by 2022. However, the technology is here now.

A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says buyers in the United Kingdom are already scooping-up vehicles with advanced safety systems.

“Nearly 75-percent of the new cars sold in the U.K. last year had some sort of crash warning or automatic braking system,” Brooklyn car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Rear-end collisions are some of the most common disasters on the road and these safety features have proven to help reduce those accidents.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, only 1-percent of 2015 vehicles sold in America had standard automatic braking. In fact, the system wasn’t even offered on 74-percent of new vehicles.

Compare that to the numbers in Europe, laid out in a study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT):

  • Forward collision warning systems were features in 58.1-percent of new cars. More than half of those vehicles listed the equipment as ‘standard.’
  • Autonomous braking covered 29-percent of new cars.
  • Blind spot monitoring was built in 35.8-percent of British vehicles.
  • Adaptive cruise control was equipped on 33-percent of the UK’s new cars.

Although the majority of these systems were ‘optional’ equipment, the safety features were widely purchased in the UK. In the U.S., buyers generally opted for the most cost-effective package.

“Carmakers don’t charge you extra to have seatbelts in your vehicle,” Barnes said. “If there’s a safety system that can reduce injuries, it should be included in all new vehicles.”

Brooklyn car accident lawyers say distracted driving is one of the largest problems on American roads today – and some of the new technology the Brits are buying could help keep a drivers’ attention on the road.

Many warning systems can alert a driver when their eyesight drifts away from windshield. Other systems can adjust the vehicles’ speed to the traffic ahead – or even automatically brake in emergency scenarios.

Attorneys say we already have the technology to make roads safer but many drivers just aren’t buying it. And, at least for now, some automakers aren’t willing to secure your family for free.

Prone to Falls, Prone to Crashes

/ Car Accident /

Rochester Car AccidentROCHESTER, N.Y. – A fall can often lead to complications. Many people often suffer hip, wrist and head injuries after falling down but a new study links the same group of people to another consequence: car crashes.

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, those who have fallen have a 40 percent greater risk of getting into a car crash. Researchers said falls can limit an older driver’s ability to function behind the wheel and driving can get risky.

A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the findings could affect 12 million adults who fall every year.

“Older drivers are in nearly 500,000 car crashes each year and many of them happen right here in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “If some of these crashes are linked to falls, families can take preventative actions to keep at-risk drivers safe and off the roads, if necessary.”

The report, called Associations Between Falls and Driving Outcomes in Older Adults, found that falls can cause a driver to lose some functional ability. Injuries like a wrist fracture or a broken leg may not fully heal or properly recover, making it difficult for older drivers to brake and steer to avoid a collision.

Researchers noted that some individuals decrease their level of physical activity after a fall, which was found to weaken their driving skills.

Falls are an indicator of declining physical fitness, study authors said. Addressing the health issues that caused the fall – like lower body weakness or poor reaction time – can help older drivers lower their risk of another fall or a car crash.

Steve Barnes, a Rochester slip and fall attorney at Cellino & Barnes, says not all falls are caused by declining muscular health. Many falls – millions of them – are caused by negligence.

“We’ve seen icy sidewalks, wet floors in supermarkets, tripping hazards in apartment hallways; and they can all cause serious injuries,” Barnes said. “We urge anyone who has been injured to get the medical treatments they need to fully recover. Sometimes those treatments are expensive but if you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, a slip and fall lawyer at our firm could help you get the best result possible.”

Safety advocates say it is vital to keep active throughout your lifetime. AAA researchers say maintaining your strength could prevent another slip and fall accident and it may even prevent a car crash.


The Major Crisis Airlines Are Doing Little About

/ Airplane Injuries /

Airplane InjuryNEW YORK – It’s been seven years since a regional airline crashed into a home outside Buffalo, New York. The crash killed everyone on board and one who was inside the home.

As a result of that accident, lawmakers and regulators dramatically increased the number of hours required of an airplane’s first officer; from 250 to 1,500. The hope was to improve safety but the change also had an unintended effect that airlines are feeling today:

There’s a dramatic pilot shortage.

A New York airplane injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says lawmakers are now debating new aviation rules that could scale back the number of hours needed to fly a plane.

“Many airlines keep putting profits above safety,” New York airplane injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Instead of paying experienced pilots a proper wage, some of these companies are willing to settle for an amateur just to keep a low operating cost.”

According to airplane accident lawyers in New York, prospective pilots spend about $150,000 to get the training, education and the hours needed to fly a commercial aircraft. Here’s the problem: entry-level salaries at some regional airlines are under $30,000. With that kind of earning potential, you can see why many would-be pilots are staying grounded.

Even the companies with well-paid pilots are cutting back in other areas. Flight attendants and the maintenance of non-vital systems are usually the first to go but New York airplane injury lawyers say these cutbacks may sound minor but have been known to cause serious injuries to passengers.

“Many people have been burned on an airplane or they’ve suffered injuries after they were hit by a cart,” Cellino said. “Travelers may have noticed airplane interiors have taken a beating as well – things like overhead baggage bins can break, causing luggage to fall on a passenger’s head.”

Over the last few years, several researchers have determined that airplane injuries are on the rise. Recent news articles, like this one, tell stories of passengers getting hurt on an airplane, especially during episodes of turbulence.

Safety advocates say almost all of these injuries could be prevented if airlines and their staff members used caution. Attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say everyone in the airline industry – from the pilots to the flight attendants – could benefit from extra training.

As Congress considers scaling-back the required hours for pilots, passengers continue to spend hundreds of dollars on boarding passes – and many would feel that money is better spent on a more experienced airplane staff.

Investigation Finds Dangerous Chemicals in NY, Vt. Water Supply

/ Contaminated Water /

water3NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. – Near the site of an abandoned chemical plant, some residents have been diagnosed with cancers and other health ailments. Many of them suspected it had something to do with the fumes spewing from the factory in their back yard but even after the factory closed its doors, people continued to fall ill. Recent discoveries however, renewed concerns – not about the air quality; but about the water quality.

Several private wells within a two-mile radius of the former chemical plant were found to be contaminated with perflourooctanoic acid, or PFOA; a chemical linked to pregnancy complications and cancer.

Kerby Wright, a personal injury attorney at the law offices of Cellino & Barnes, was in North Bennington, Vermont to evaluate the chemical-contamination in the communities of northern New York State and Vermont.

“It was heartbreaking to personally see how the communities are suffering,” Wright said. “This is a serious health issue and no one was warned until it was too late.”

PFOA has been identified in water supplies on both sides of the state border. In some areas, testing has revealed PFOA at levels over 2,000 parts-per-trillion, which is more than 10 times the recommended limit established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Each day, more homes and wells are discovering that they are contaminated with this toxic chemical,” personal injury attorney Steve Barnes said. “Short-term exposure to this chemical can have serious health effects but many people in these communities have been drinking this water for years.”

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont visited the North Bennington community to meet with residents and town officials, an Albany news outlet reported. His visit came one day after health officials announced they would be testing soil samples for PFOA.

According to state leaders, the soil test results should be back within a month.

If the soil does test positive for PFOA, many homeowners are concerned that it would cause a significant drop in their property values.

Cellino & Barnes currently has personal injury lawyers investigating the on-going water contamination crisis in northern New York and Vermont. If you believe you have suffered physical or financial injuries due to contaminated water, contact Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.


6 Dangers of Spring Break

/ Personal Injury /

6 Dangers of Spring BreakBUFFALO, N.Y. – If you’re stressed or exhausted, a vacation might be just what the doctor ordered. Many health professionals believe some R & R can be healthy and re-energizing. However a spring break trip also poses some unfamiliar dangers for travelers.

According to real science backed by doctors and university professors, skipping the holidays can be deadly. But Dengue fever and venomous snakes can be just as dangerous. That’s why doctors and safety advocates suggest doing your homework before booking a flight.

A Buffalo personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says spring break injuries are actually common: from slip and fall injuries, to car accidents and binge drinking; your vacation can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

“When you’re on vacation, you’re likely in an unfamiliar area and that can raise your risk of having an accident,” Buffalo personal injury attorney Steve Barnes said. “We strongly urge anyone who is traveling to carefully plan their vacations and learn about the areas they’ll be visiting.”

Here are six of the most common dangers travelers encounter while on spring break:

6. Lack of Emergency Treatment/Services

If you’re on spring break, there’s no doubt you may want to try new things and explore new places. Unfortunately, as Buffalo personal injury attorneys pointed out, new places can be risky. Depending on your destination, emergency services may be few and far between.

In 2012, a man died of food poisoning because there weren’t any doctors or health services nearby that could treat his condition.

According to a recent travel risk analysis, some nations were found to have little to no modern medical facilities that could help travelers, if needed.

5. Norovirus on Cruises

Norovirus is an extremely contagious illness. A person can get infected from food, water, contaminated surfaces, or even another person. Sparing you the graphic details, norovirus can cause severe stomach pain and nausea.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus contributes to over 56,000 hospitalizations and around 600 deaths each year.

Cruises can increase your risk of being infected with norovirus because it thrives in small, confined areas. The CDC has reported several recent outbreaks on cruises and in some cases, cruise ships have been investigated by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

4. Animal/Bug Bites

Snakes. Spiders. And bees, oh my! Some vacation hotspots have their shares of venomous and dangerous wildlife. Some critters can cause allergic reactions which can sometimes be fatal.

Even those at home should be on alert for dangerous species. In 2014, a British family was evacuated when they found hundreds of deadly spiders hiding out in bananas.

Obviously, the risk is greater if you’re visiting that creature’s home territory. According to the World Health Organization, more than 400,000 people are permanently disabled or disfigured due to wild animal bites each year.

3. Food Poisoning

Plan on trying new foods in exotic places? Buffalo personal injury attorneys are urging travelers to be cautious of what they eat because food poisoning can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“Nearly every day, we hear of new cases of food poisoning or e. coli breakouts at restaurants locally and abroad,” Barnes said. “Every establishment in America has standards to adhere to and they can be found legally responsible for your illness but when you’re traveling abroad, those standards could be different.”

The CDC estimates 48 million Americans get sick from bad food each year. According to CDC statistics, another 3,000 people die from foodborne diseases.

Water is the most common source of food poisoning; followed by beef, poultry, leafy greens, eggs, and tuna.

2. Irregular sleep patterns

You’ve heard of jetlag but most Americans don’t consider how it affects your health.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, jetlag can cause impaired brain functions including forgetfulness and decreased alertness. Most commonly however, jetlag is known to contribute to drowsiness, which can be extremely dangerous when operating heavy machinery or a motor vehicle.

1. Binge Drinking

The most common accidents that occur on spring break involve alcohol. Each year, thousands of college students take a break from the books and open the booze. Unfortunately, binge drinking can be dangerous and deadly in several ways.

Not only does binge drinking increase your risk of car accidents and slip and fall accidents; drinkers can fall victim to alcohol poisoning.

Buffalo personal injury attorneys urge everyone on spring break to use their best judgements and know your limits.

NYC Peds, Cyclists Account for 1 in 4 Traffic Deaths

/ Car Accident /

NYC Peds, Cyclists Account for 1 in 4 Traffic DeathsNEW YORK – Many cities have made conscious efforts to improve traffic safety for everyone, especially those who are defenseless like pedestrians and bicyclists. However, New York still has the highest share of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in the nation.

According to the Alliance for Biking & Walking, 24-percent of the city’s traffic fatalities were pedestrians and another 3-percent were bicyclists. In just the first six months of 2015, more than 120 pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions in the Big Apple.

A New York car accident attorney with Cellino & Barnes says both the city and the state have taken actions to improve safety for walkers and riders but drivers have a responsibility as well.

“One of the most dangerous moving violations is when a driver fails to yield in New York,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It happens too often so we’re urging all drivers to watch for pedestrians before turning or going over a crosswalk.”

Despite the city’s participation in Vision Zero, a multi-national safety project that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities, new data suggests pedestrian safety is a growing problem.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities across the nation surged to over 2,300 in 2015, a 10-percent increase over 2014 and the highest number in nearly two decades. New York car accident attorneys say distractions are partly to blame.

“Drivers are more distracted than ever,” Cellino said. “People are looking at their phones, their GPS systems, or fumbling through their playlists – it’s a dangerous problem.”

Attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say most pedestrians are injured by turning cars that don’t realize there are people in a crosswalk. The firm is now urging drivers to do their part and pay attention before jetting through a crossing-zone.

If you’ve been injured on sidewalk or in a crosswalk, contact the New York car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Ice Storm Wreaks Havoc

/ Car Accident /

Ice Storm Wreaks HavocBUFFALO, N.Y. – Many Western New Yorkers are still feeling the effects of freezing rain that turned the region into a giant hockey rink Tuesday evening. It made drivers think twice about a night-time commute but authorities say the weather was a factor in dozens of car crashes.

Car crashes alone injured at least three children and one adult in several pile-up collisions Tuesday night, according to the Buffalo News. Ice-caked roads were a factor in the crashes but a Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says drivers must adjust to the conditions in order to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

“Freezing rain can be difficult to navigate and it creates the very dangerous ‘black ice’ in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Even at slow speeds, black ice can make the roads dangerous so it’s important for drivers to leave extra stopping distance.”

In Hamburg, more than 30 cars piled-up on Milestrip Road near an I-90 exit. Police said even as they were responding, more vehicles were crashing.

Driving in steep areas caused other pile-ups, including a 14-car crash off the Skyway in downtown Buffalo.

“Once a car is moving down a hill, it is very difficult to stop in icy conditions,” Barnes said. “That’s why drivers should be familiar with the terrain and avoid hilly roadways if possible.”

Buffalo car accident lawyers say although weather be a major factor in car crashes, most drivers can avoid a crash if they are safely operating their vehicles.

If you’ve been injured in an icy crash, Cellino & Barnes offers free case evaluations. Contact a Buffalo car accident attorney today to get started.

State Email: Water from Flint River is “Downright Scary”

/ Lead Poisoning /

Water from Flint River is “Downright Scary”DETROIT – Hundreds of hard-working families in the community of Flint, Michigan are now seeking justice after they were exposed to dangerous and potentially deadly toxins for nearly two years.

Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office released thousands of pages of documents and emails. In at least one of those emails, sent in 2014, a Snyder aide called the water issue in Flint “an urgent matter to fix.”

Snyder did not declare a state of emergency in the Michigan city until last month.

A lead poisoning attorney at Cellino & Barnes toured the community on Monday and says residents deserve answers and they deserve justice.

“For nearly two years, families were told this water was safe to drink, safe to cook with and safe to bathe in,” lead poisoning attorney Joe Vazquez said. “Unfortunately, lab tests have found toxic levels of lead in their drinking water and in some cases, people have been infected with dangerous or even deadly bacteria.”

Michael Gadola, the governor’s top lawyer at the time, told state staffers in 2014 that he was concerned about the water situation in Flint.

“My Mom is a City resident,” wrote Gadola in a recently released email dated in 2014. “Nice to know she’s drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform.”

Flint had cancelled water service it was receiving from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department as a cost-saving measure in April of 2014. Gadola recommended that the city switch back to Detroit’s water system because the idea of using water from the Flint River was “downright scary.”

After receiving Flint River water for just a few months, a General Motors manufacturing plant in Flint wouldn’t even use the water to clean its machinery because the water was found to be corrosive to its auto parts. The corrosion didn’t stop there.

The water, which wasn’t treated properly, caused the city’s iron pipes to corrode. As a result, lead leached into the water supply.

“The people in the Flint community trusted their government and their elected officials to protect them,” Vazquez said. “Instead, those officials caused hard-working families to suffer irreparable harm.”

Blood tests have revealed that many Flint residents have toxic levels of lead in their bodies. The city has also seen a significant spike in the number of people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a deadly illness caused by bacteria.

Lead poisoning attorneys are now helping the Flint community hold the state accountable for its negligent actions. Those who have been affected by tainted water are urged to contact a lead poisoning attorney at Cellino & Barnes immediately to discuss your legal options.

Some families could receive significant compensation for their injuries or loss.

Contact Cellino & Barnes today to learn more.

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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